Good Food/Bad Food Ratios: The Art of Guilt-Free Indulgence

According to the Calorie Control Council, the average number of calories consumed on Thanksgiving day can reach 4,500—along with a heaping helping of 229 grams of fat. The “Calorie Control Council” sounds really official so this must be an accurate stat. Regardless, so what? This factoid reminded me of one of the reasons many of us consume healthy and organic foods: guilt-free indulgence. Many of us do it every day as we calculate our good food/bad food ratios and conclude that because we had the organic Cheerios product from Whole Foods this morning, we can have three Candy Cane Cookies from Trader Joe’s later this afternoon. The ratios we employ are endless: Any green juice/chai latte, organic bread/aged gouda, happy chicken/sad steak and my personal favorite, organic beer which, by definition, is a wash. But, what about the biggest eating day of the year? Should we eat a higher percentage of tofu and organic beets for weeks to accumulate enough ratio points to overindulge on Thanksgiving? Should we spend them on credit – vowing to make the points up in December, promising to pay with days of spelt sandwiches and kale chips? Or, should we just not care at all? I was in a coffee house recently and seated across from me was an old women who was 87 if she was a day. She was complaining to her friend about how her doctor had suggested a healthier diet. She said she had eaten whatever she wanted her whole life, why should she change now? Well grandma, you just might not make it to 97 with that attitude. My first reaction was to ask her how she felt. My guess is she had a lot of aches and pains from all those years of living. Would she feel better now if she had taken a healthier road? Who knows? Good food choices usually means an overall healthier lifestyle. The key is to embrace those 4500 fat-laced calories, if just for a day and let go of the ratios and the guilt. Be happy that you have the bounty and presumably good people to share it with. If, by chance, the guilt begins to creep in just remember, there’s a 87 year old lady out there who just fought for the last of the stuffing.

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Getting the Best Deal on Air Travel. Mothers, Kids and Guilt

The busiest travel holiday of the year is upon us. Thanksgiving is one of the best opportunities to completely throw common sense into the wind and fly our children to the bosoms of our childhood for the family holiday. We all know it’s only a matter of time before we rub our faces vigorously, peer menacingly at our spouse and wonder why we have done it. Guilt, of course, over “family obligation” I suspect is the number one reason. Regardless of why, we search for weeks on Expedia or Travelocity looking to wring one more dollar out of United or American even if it means an extra three-hour layover at Newark. Late on Thanksgiving Eve, surrounded by tired families at an unbearable layover we wish we could spend that dollar or 500, RIGHT NOW, on a direct flight. The crowds, the delays, the bad food, the air quality — the list goes on and on and yet we soldier on. We are driven by a mysterious force that sounds just like our mother telling us she will be fine all alone, her tears dropping off her nose, one by one, into the Chinese food cartons. There are new tools of course; with the advent of iPods and DVD players we are light years from auto bingo in terms of travel distraction. And yet, it’s still exhausting. We can’t help but think of how comfortable we would be at home right now. Simple fare, a drink or two, watch a little football, take a nap, look forward to the three-day weekend. But we slog on, determined to make it all work. Like many things, we have a vision of what family holidays are supposed to look like and yet they rarely capture the magic of our imaginations. We do what we think we are supposed to do and think we will one day break the cycle and mean it when we tell our kids we’ll be fine, alone, eating take-out food…won’t we?

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Is My Data Safe in the Cloud?

Should I entrust my data to the cloud?

As we learn more about Cloud Computing and the benefits of storing and accessing our data online, we naturally have anxiety over trusting our data to “somewhere in space.” Whether it be the video of your child’s first steps or tomorrow’s presentation to the board, the idea that it’s accessible and secure requires a leap of faith. I recall when LL Bean launched their website several years ago. It was great to browse their wares online, but if you wanted to make a purchase you had to call customer service; the site didn’t accept credit cards. I sent an email asking why they had built this virtual catalog that did little to advance the ease of obtaining their products. The response was something along the lines of, “we don’t believe consumers are ready to fully participate in e-commerce.” In other words, shoppers don’t trust our system to protect their credit card data.

How times have changed; online shopping and banking are now second nature. Sure, there is occasional fraud – and there always will be – but the systems for online ordering are very secure. The same goes for data in the cloud. When you upload it from your computer it is usually encrypted at the same level as your credit card. Furthermore, most systems are automatic and redundant so once the data reaches the online storage and is verified, it is backed up. The advantages are great: no more backups on media that you then have to store and protect; access to your data from most connected systems; and peace of mind that your most important memories and files are safe. There are many applications that offer this service including BackblazeCrashPlan, and Carbonite.

Moreover, beyond simply storing our data there are terrific tools available to utilize the power of the cloud. Everything from family calendar apps like Skedi to Microsoft Office 365 and Apple’s iCloud. These applications reach beyond the PC and take Cloud Computing to the next level of true mobility.

Leap into the cloud! It’s easy, secure and pillowy soft.

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Parent Teacher Conferences and our Enfant Terrible.

I looked at my iPhone this morning and saw in Skedi that my wife and I had our fall parent-teacher conference. I have always taken these with a grain of salt because the teacher, as evaluator, bears some responsibility for the progress of your child. Akin to the fox telling the hens that everything is fine. However, it does do one thing: Long after you’ve lost your perspective, it gives you insight as to how the world sees your child. Tired and weary from a week marked by tantrums caused by frustration spanning everything from socks to pumpkins, we sat on the little chairs and expected to hear what we knew: he’s enfant terrible. Right? Wrong. He’s wonderful, curious, learning and happy. He leads, he’s inclusive, he is well liked. Reminded me of how important it is remember that our reactions in the moment are not a global truth. We have to remember the grays along with the blacks and whites. We create safe, loving labs in which we hopefully encourage our children to learn the limits, feel their way, adjust and grow. At times, that can be so stressful we lose our perspective, but ultimately, even though they look like us we are not the reflection of our children. The world is.

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Ghouls, Goblins and Ghosts Everywhere: Halloween Safety and Community Building

It seems just like yesterday that our parents sent us out alone into the night of All Hallows’ Eve. Ghouls and Goblins were everywhere but we were safe and nobody thought otherwise. Today, it’s a different world. Threats seemingly lie everywhere and while Halloween is more popular than ever, so is our motivation to protect our children. In the spirit of community, a neighbor of ours hosts an early potluck before the kids take to the streets. The party gives everyone a chance to see the costumes, share a meal and catch up on the latest town gossip. Afterwards they all head out in a group, chaperoned of course, creating Halloween memories that go beyond the ephemeral bag of treats. One day, it is my hope that our children will remember not just the Snickers and the Starbursts, but that they went out into the night together, in a village, sharing the event with their community. Little do they know it’s all happening under the watchful eye of parents whose anxiety about their children’s safety, as usual, is carefully hidden behind a mask.

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Introducing Itty-Bitty Skedi

Skedi has just released Itty-Bitty Skedi is a tiny program that watches for changes in your family calendar. Now, whenever a family member sends you an invitation, delegation, or cancellation, Itty Bitty Skedi will notify you via email.

We’re excited about Itty-Bitty Skedi. Let us know what you think.

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The Family Meal

Is your family sitting down and sharing a meal together on a regular basis? If not, you need to schedule it because you are missing one of the best opportunities to connect with your children. According to a research study at North Dakota State University, “family meals offer the opportunity to connect with each other, communicate about family happenings, and give each other time and attention.” There are other benefits too, like improved nutrition, the sharing of values, and a heightened sense of children’s self-esteem.

According to the study, “The most important thing about family meals is to make them frequent, fun and family-centered.” One of the best ways to do that is with a mobile application like Skedi. If your meals are scheduled, then everyone knows when and where to be for dinner and who is responsible for making it. You can find out more about how Skedi can help organize your family at

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Coming Soon: In-App Family Editing and Email Notifications

We have two great new features coming to you very soon:

  1. In-App Family Editing — many subscribers have been asking for a way to edit their family members. So, we’re going to provide subscribers with the ability to edit their family members in Skedi. It will be easy to use and look similar to iOS Address Book.
  2. Email Notifications — As you know, Skedi has a great in-app notification system, but many of you have asked to be notified via email whenever a new invitation arrives. So, by default, we’ll be notifying family members, with valid email addresses, when new invitations, delegations, or cancellations are awaiting their response.

We’re looking forward to delivering these new features you’ve requested. If you have any feature requests, please share your ideas here.

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How Skedi Compares to Online Calendars – Part 1 – Google Calendar

Or as we might more appropriately say, why Skedi is better than online calendaring.

Simply put, online calendars such as Google Calendar require users to have a Gmail account and while you can share your calendar with other Google users, you cannot share it with everyone.  Skedi allows you to share your online calendar with any calendar system, regardless of type.

Skedi is the only calendar that connects unrelated calendars regardless of device and platform.  Skedi is the only calendar that lets parents assign tasks to others, important when scheduling babysitters, grandparent visits and more.  Skedi is the only calendar that lets parents add anyone to the family calendar, regardless of that persons calendar type.  Skedi allows parents to manage and schedule family activities under one simple app on their smartphone.  All without requiring family members to switch calendars.

While online calendars such as Google Calendar offer a great service, they limit the productivity to their users only, while Skedi, no matter the platform or device, allows you to share and integrate multiple users and calendars.  With Skedi, a busy family can create a single calendar from multiple unrelated calendars and then place it in an easy to use app that can manage them all– something that Google Calendar and other free services do not offer.

For a quick comparison of online calendaring solutions versus Skedi, see the chart below:

Product Combine Any Calendar Syncs w/ Google Calendar Syncs w/ any iOS Calendar Invitation Support Assignment Support
Google Calendar NO YES NO YES NO
Yahoo! Calendar NO NO NO YES NO
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Buy Only “One” Copy Of Skedi For Your Family

You only have to buy one copy of Skedi for your family. The App Store allows you to download previously purchased apps with the same iTunes account. You can do this on up-to 10 devices and no more that 5 computers.

You may auto-download iTunes Auto-Delivery Content or download previously-purchased iTunes Eligible Content from an Account on up to 10 Associated Devices, provided no more than 5 are iTunes-authorized computers. — iTunes Terms and Conditions

Here’s how to do it.

  1. Buy Skedi on one device (iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad).
  2. On another device tap Settings > Store. Is the Apple ID the same as the first device? If yes, go to step 4; otherwise, tap Apple ID > Sign Out > Sign In > Use Existing Apple ID.
  3. Enter the Apple ID and password from the first device.
  4. From the second device, go to this link or search for Skedi in the App Store.
  5. Tap $9.99 > Buy Now. The download will start, you may be prompted to verify your payment info. If so, check it and tap Done.
  6. Repeat these steps for each member of your family.

That’s it and thank you for buying Skedi!

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